The Blank Page: How to Find Inspiration
Whether you’re writing a novel or a journal entry, the hardest part is often getting started.
Today you’ll explore a technique known as Stream of Consciousness writing that can help you warm up for writing and develop a talent for expressing yourself.
What is stream of consciousness writing?
On the surface, stream of consciousness writing is exactly what it sounds like: writing down your thoughts as they flow through your mind.
Take a minute to clear your mind to centre your thoughts by taking 3 deep breaths. Then, wait for the first thought that enters your mind (even if the thought is ‘I don’t know’) and write!
Write whatever enters your mind, no matter if it makes sense, is spelt correctly or flows. Write fast, using your hand to transcribe your thoughts without taking the usual time to edit them into a more legible form.
When should I use it?
To process your emotions: Journaling expert Tristine Rainer describes this type of writing as a ‘direct line to the subconscious’.
To brainstorm ideas: Authors use stream of consciousness writing to brainstorm ideas, and there’s no reason why you can’t use it for your next project!
To clear your mind: Too many thoughts running through your mind? This technique can help you get them all out of your brain and into physical form.
To record your dreams: Dreams are often nonsensical, without a flow that we can easily follow. Stream of consciousness writing can help you record your dreams without having to adhere to the standard norms of writing - no need to follow a chronological flow, or even write in full sentences!
Did you know that Halo has an easy template to guide your through your first stream of consciousness entry? Find it in the Fundamentals section of the app!
How to get started
Set a timer
Try setting a timer of 5 to 10 minutes long and commit to writing the whole time. Having a deadline can help you feel more motivated and less daunted by the idea of writing for extended periods of time. If you feel inspired after your timer has gone off, keep going!
Don’t worry about writing well
Stream of consciousness writing is all about getting the tumbled thoughts out of minds and onto paper. Not many of us think in full sentences, so if your entry reflects that, that’s okay! Grammar mistakes, incomplete sentences and unfinished thoughts are all part of the joy of free writing.
If you prefer a more structured feel, that’s fine too - just make sure you are actively writing the whole time, without pausing the censor or mull over your thoughts too much. Think of the practice as thinking with your hand.
Still don’t know how to begin? Start there. Try writing ‘I don’t know’ in your entry as many times as you need until your mind naturally starts wandering. When your next thought arises, write it down and follow the flow.
‘I’m writing in my journal it’s been a long day this is hard I dont know I dont know I dont know I’m tired I’m tired from work work is hard why is it hard what am I doing wrong I dont know I dont know Im trying my best I’m trying to help…’
Stream of consciousness writing is all about plunging in before you’re ready and waiting for inspiration to strike, so don’t be afraid to start from the silliest or most banal of places. You never know what you’ll uncover!
Ready to start journaling? Download Halo for free to begin your self-discovery journey, and don’t forget to follow @HaloJournal for more tips!